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Tunis, 16 January 2006 – The African Development Bank Group has signed an agreement with the government of Burundi for a grant of 12 million Units of Account (about 17.5 million US dollars or 18 billion Burundi francs) to finance the rehabilitation and extension of a rural water infrastructure in the country.
The agreement was signed in Tunis on Friday (13 January 2006) by Mr. Lotfi Chakroun, on behalf of the Bank and the Ambassador of Burundi in Tripoli, Mr. Bitariho Raphael.
Commenting on the support, Mr. Chakroun said the project was in line with the poverty reduction strategy elaborated by the government and the areas of priority intervention identified by the Bank for the 2005-2007 period.
"It constitutes part of the pillars of the strategic intervention axis of the Bank which places emphasis on improving living conditions of rural populations, through access to drinking water and adequate sanitation services," he explained.
On his part, Ambassador Bitariho said the country witnessed massive destruction of infrastructure and equipment including water harnessing facilities in the towns during its long civil conflict that resulted in the decline in access to drinking water from 70% in 1993 to 45% in 2005.
"Thanks to this project, thousands of people, including those who are still in camps for displaced persons, and disadvantaged people living on the outskirts (of Bujumbura) will at last get access to drinking water and good hygienic conditions. The same goes for thousands of school children and patients who receive treatment in the project areas," he explained.
The project is expected to contribute, in a sustainable manner, to the improvement of access to drinking water and sanitation services in 34 communes in Bururi, Gitega, Kayanza and Muramvya Provinces, and in two districts on the outskirts of Bujumbura. It will also help strengthen the management and monitoring capacities in the rural water and sanitation sector, at the central level and in 34 Communal Water Authorities in Bururi, Gitega, Muramvya and Kayanza Provinces.
The main beneficiaries of the project will include women and children, who will be spared the problems of fetching water as well as pupils and students, through access to drinking water and latrines in their schools. The entire population of the project area will benefit from the improved access to drinking water and improved hygiene and sanitation.
The ADB Group’s operations in Burundi started in 1974. The grant brings the Group’s cumulative commitments in the country to 39 million UA or US$ 56 million dollars of which US$ 32 million are in the form of grants in 53 operations.
UA1 = US$ 1.42414 = 1,502.9 BIF as at 01/12/2005